Master of Fine Arts

About the Program

The ASU MFA in Creative Writing is and has always been an unswervingly student-first program. Through small classes, intimate workshops, and practicum, or one-to-one mentoring, the centuries-old apprenticeship model thrives within the New American University. Creative writing has been a part of the department of English since the 1930s. With the inception of the MFA degree in 1985, creative writing became an ascendant unit; the program was ranked within the top 20 MFA programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. It is consistently ranked among the “top-tier” three-year programs in poetry and in fiction in the most thorough online evaluation of creative writing programs.

ASU Creative Writing is distinguished by an outstanding faculty that has garnered national and international attention: Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, a Pulitzer Prize and several Pulitzer nominations, two Flannery O’Connor Awards, the Western States Book Award, PEN/Faulkner finalist recognition, the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, Pushcart Prizes, the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, and two Medals of Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters.

The program requirements include 48 hours of study evenly divided between writing courses and literature courses designed to inform that writing. While students are expected to satisfy these requirements in the genre in which they were accepted, the program encourages cross-genre study, and electives can include courses taken outside of the creative writing program, even outside the English department. Courses such as “Creative Writing and the Professions” and “Internship for Community Outreach” encourage students to envision life beyond graduation.

The Creative Writing Program at ASU has been able consistently to offer MFA students among the best funding packages in the nation through teaching and research assistantships, which are renewable for each of the program's three years.  Additionally, in concert with the CWP, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers a variety of graduate assistantships, international writing and teaching scholarships,  and thesis fellowships to continuing students. Students who accept the TA offer are required to take the TA seminar, a pedagogy and training course designed to assist graduate students during their first year. TA seminar is credited as a literature elective. Successful TAs have the opportunity to teach introductory creative writing to undergraduates, under the supervision of one of the program faculty.

In the second year students assemble their thesis committees and identify a committee chair. The second year is also when practica begin. In the spring of the third year, students typically take the final practicum, focused on completing the thesis manuscript, with their committee chair.


Tara Ison

Tara Ison
Director, Creative Writing Program
Associate Professor
Tara.Ison@asu.edu

Creative Writing: Fiction